Master the Mainframe Global User Group

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Weekly t-shirt challenge: Diversity in Tech

  • 1.  Weekly t-shirt challenge: Diversity in Tech

    Posted Thu August 13, 2020 05:01 PM

    I'm not sure I'll ever understand the level of passion that programming languages inspire among developers like @Kai Nacke says.  I'm more in @Loek Sluijter's camp in that I think you need to find the right tool for the job.  I also agree with @Subhasish Sarkar that we can no longer learn only "mainframe languages".  But I'll also add that today's students should learn COBOL too since there is still so much of it in this world.

    Congratulations Kai, Loek and Subhasish for getting the most votes.   I'll send you all some shirts!

    Yesterday I was scheduled to do a webinar about how to get girls interested in technology.  Unfortunately that webinar has to be rescheduled but I'm still in the mood to talk about that topic.  So for this week's challenge, let's talk about how we as industry professionals can help to increase Diversity in Tech.  What are you personally doing to help increase tech diversity in students and what can we all do to help with this critical issue?

    The rules*:
    1.  Every Thursday, I'll start a new discussion thread titled Weekly Challenge.

    2.  This week, reply to the thread with the how we can help increase diversity in tech careers.  

    3.  Vote for your favorite entries by clicking the "Recommend" button next to your favorites.

    4.  The following Thursday, I'll announce the winner and start the next week's thread.

    5.  The person submitting the item with the most votes will receive one of these Legends of Z t-shirts (or equivalent)!

    * The rules are not really rules.  This isn't a real contest or anything.  It's just something I feel like doing and having a fun excuse to share some cool t-shirts with you.  I hope you all have fun with it.  I am!


    Misty Decker
    Master the Mainframe
    @MistyMVD on Twitter

  • 2.  RE: Weekly t-shirt challenge: Diversity in Tech

    Posted Fri August 14, 2020 07:40 AM
    If you are in a position of power, give them support. If you can contract someone outside the typical Man/White/Cis/Hetero profile, bring them. Even if they are not the complete profile, give them a chance and teach them.

    If you are not in a position of power, but you have the knowledge, teach them. Empower them. Help them to use technology to protect themselves.

    Question the power. Question authority: many times, more than we imagine and we want to accept, hard power is weaponized by those that want to hold the status quo. This is true on government and is true on businesses: in the end of the day, it's all about people in power that believes power is a sum-zero game, believe in I than in We.

    Beyond everything: treat people equitably, not the same. People should be treated equally when the difference segregated them, but diferently when the "equality" would suppress them.

    They want to exist and to be happy. As everyone else. If you have the power to do this, you also have the responsability if you don't do this.

    Fábio Emilio Costa
    Performance Analyst
    Sao Paulo

  • 3.  RE: Weekly t-shirt challenge: Diversity in Tech

    Posted Fri August 14, 2020 01:07 PM
    The most important part of diversity in tech careers is equality. What is meant with that?
    I have got some years of experience in IT as a woman. There were teamleads or colleagues in every company, who  said: "A woman as a System Administrator or a Software Engineer? Go away! That is a job for men!" or "Shit women!". I can tell such stories endless...
    A woman in tech jobs needs a thick skin. That is the reason that so many female studied Computer Scientists are leaving the area after some years.

    I did the break for studying (after a vocational training act and work experience). That was something as a sabbatical paid by the state (with a scholarship) for me. I have been enjoying the environment and casual conversation at our Faculty. Everybody can contribute. The gender and nationality is unimportant. That isso wonderful compared to my work experience, that I really thought about staying at the university.

    Diversity in tech careers does not have any barriers that women or people want to have special encouragement. The problem is the tone. We want to be equal as everybody else and want to contribute. Excluding special groups is the worst case for us and we want to leave the tech career.

    Sarah Julia Kriesch

  • 4.  RE: Weekly t-shirt challenge: Diversity in Tech

    Posted Wed August 19, 2020 08:48 AM
    How can we increase diversity in tech careers?
    The tech industry is at the forefront of new ideas, inventions and materials. To push this development forward we need the best ideas from people everywhere. Diversity is so vital, as it means that more people can come up with more exciting and different ideas to push forward the industry, as well as meaning that people learn better together.

    To help encourage diversity we need to educate people, as many who seem to be opposed to diversity are not educated about its huge positive impact. Industries should reach out to minorities and ask them what action they think should be taken, as well as arranging educational courses or programmes to help people appreciate and learn more about different cultures, races, etc.

    Equality is vital to progress towards a brighter future in tech. We need to tear down the barriers that separate people using education, to create a fairer tech industry.

    Kareena Cooper

  • 5.  RE: Weekly t-shirt challenge: Diversity in Tech

    Posted Thu August 20, 2020 10:15 AM
    How we can help increase diversity in tech careers.  
    I would say start soon, with children. Specially the ones that don't have too much conditions to touch technology.
    I live in a country with a huge social disparity. I think that  giving the children, in the early years in school, the opportunity to meet technology would increase the possibility of diversity in technical career in the future. I say that because children have less prejudice. For them the color of skin or gender don't mean a problem or difference. As soon as we engender on them the notion they are capable, despite they are boy or girl, white or black, we will be increasing the diversity in the future.

    Marilene Munhoz

  • 6.  RE: Weekly t-shirt challenge: Diversity in Tech

    Posted Thu August 20, 2020 10:16 AM

    I worked at IBM for 24 years, leaving in 1999, on the technical side of networking. At that time, it was very unusual to find a woman working as a fellow "geek", whether on hardware or software. You could find many of them in marketing and a few in sales, but very few were the "go to" techies to get things working and fix them when they didn't.

    My third career (+2 from IBM) was as a secondary school teacher of IT (up to A level which is pre-uni this side of the pond), which I did for 11 years up to retirement. Only once were there any girls on the A level course in all those years. My after school Computer Club, open to anyone interested, was all boys every year!

    So why aren't women attracted to a career in IT?

    Firstly, there might be the impression that the industry is dominated by men. The role of women appears to have been, historically at least, to pose in front of a new gizmo for the reporters to photograph.

    Secondly, has anyone ever seen a film with a female "geek" fiddling with the computers in the background?

    Thirdly, where women have made major contributions to computer science, this has largely been ignored or downplayed until fairly recently.

    Therefore, relevant role models are hard to find amongst a multitude of male pioneers, both historical and fictional. Fixing this is the main direction I would consider if I had the job of attracting girls into a career in computing.

    How can this be done?

    Esmeralda's "Meet the Mainframe - Meet My Mainframe" video used in Part One of this project is a good example of the sort of thing I have in mind. It is obvious that this is not someone that has buffed up a script written by someone else, but one who knows what they are doing. This is demonstrated by the way she confidently knows what can be safely opened - and what not - and what the various parts are for.

    A presentation which demonstrates the diversity of careers available could include short clips from videos like this, with supporting links to the full videos as handouts. The videos should ideally not be made specially for the presentation but exist already with verifiable date stamps. I might also consider a brief summary of major milestones where women played a major role, but have this towards the end of the presentation - but not go back too far as youngsters won't be interested.

    Peter Vincent

    Peter Vincent

  • 7.  RE: Weekly t-shirt challenge: Diversity in Tech

    Posted Fri September 11, 2020 02:33 PM
    Great points, Peter.  

    In pop culture in the recent past, it seems that those with high intelligence are presumed to have very low emotional IQs.  Regular people make fun of the smart guy, until he somehow saves the day and shows his worth to the group, gaining their respect.  People are not as comfortable mocking women who are judged to be socially awkward but highly intelligent, so the group may be more inclined to try to "fix" them.  Even Velma was "fixed" in one of the Scooby Doo movies.

    I've rarely seen women techs in movies.  "The Net" being one exception (and totally real!), but could you imagine the tech guy in Ocean's 11 being played by a woman?  Though they were having fun with the Rat Pack genre, the stereotype of the nerdy tech is that he's invisible, or attracts little attention.  Through no fault of her own, invisibility is often impossible for a woman in technology, because men are driven by their brain (or whatever) to pay attention to them.  Like the remake of "The Italian Job" where the attractiveness of the skilled safecracker got her unintentionally noticed by the bad guy when she tried to pass herself off as a cable TV repair-person.  "Batman Forever" (I think) had Michelle Pfieffer playing a seriously nerdy botanist who might have fit that invisible nerd stereotype, but then she turned villain and became the femme fatale.  There are many examples of this storyline - the  unattractive, brainy woman blossoms into the flower of beauty.  

    People are caring less and less about these stereotypes today, and that's a good thing.  Hollywood is far from catching up, but some progress is happening.  The real progress is happening everyday in real America.  Women ARE attracted to IT careers and many are now bold enough to go for it.  This is a fantastic time to be a woman in technology.

    Paul Walker